The Blackhawks are not expected to make the playoffs for a third straight year, according to the first week of SB Nation’s FanPulse polling data.
The Central Division had five representatives in last season’s playoffs: Predators, Jets, Blues, Stars and Avalanche. Chicago (3-5-2) didn’t make the top five vote-getters for teams to return to the playoffs with only 7.4 percent, but they were favored over the Wild (1.9 percent).
The Jets and Stars, however, ranked third and fourth, respectively, among last season’s playoff teams most likely to miss the playoffs. Dallas hasn’t made back-to-back postseason trips since 2007-08. The Stars and Wild have the worst goal differential in the Central with minus-11, while Chicago (-6) and Winnipeg (-5) aren’t too far behind.
People have the most faith in St. Louis, who have only 1.6 percent believing they’ll miss the playoffs. The polling data, however, was conducted prior to the Blues losing star winger Vladimir Tarasenko for five months with a shoulder injury. Nashville and Colorado also have plenty of optimism around them with only 2.7 and 2.5 percent, respectively, thinking they won’t make the postseason.
How do these opinions match up with what we’re seeing in the point projections? Micah Blake McCurdy of HockeyViz.com projects the Blackhawks to finish last in the Central Division with 85 points, which would put Chicago seventh from the bottom in the NHL.
We will ask these same questions two more times this season — once in late December or early January, and again in March. Between now and then, there will be questions on a variety of topics every other Wednesday sent straight to the email of everyone who has signed up to participate.